Press Releases

Transcript of SCA's standup briefing (English only)

Following is the transcript of the standup briefing given by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, after attending the Legislative Council meeting this (December 6) afternoon (English only):

Reporter: Do you think that the Government has done enough to promote party politics in Hong Kong? And do you think the Government should satisfy the demand of law makers?

Secretary for Constitutional Affairs: We take a very positive attitude towards political party development in Hong Kong. Political party development and constitutional development go hand in hand. We believe that there are three measures which we can take to promote such development.

Firstly, we should continue to explore the possibility of expanding our system of political appointments within the SAR Government. The Secretaries of the Government are politically appointed. Earlier on, we have made recommendations that we should consider the possibility of expanding that system to cover two additional levels – under-secretaries and political assistants. People with political party background can join the Government in future by taking up such executive appointments. This will then broaden the scope for people who wish to take part in politics - beyond the possibility of standing for elections in the Legislative Council (LegCo) and the District Council (DC) elections.

Secondly, we are thinking of possibilities of increasing the number of seats for different layers of councils, the DCs and the LegCo. For the DCs, we have already recently increased the number of directly elected seats from 400 to 405. This is in addition to an increase back in 2003, from 390 to 400. This is a very natural development flowing from the increase in population density in various new towns.

Thirdly, we are also extending various practical measures to enable political parties and groups to facilitate their candidates in taking part in the DC and LegCo elections. For example, we implemented in 2004 a scheme of financial assistance for people standing in the LegCo elections, $10 per vote. We are introducing a scheme of $10 per vote in the DC election to be held in November 2007.

Ends/Wednesday, December 6, 2006